Head teacher addicted to online gambling
Mail Online. (2007). Head teacher addicted to online gambling hangs himself after house is repossessed
A head teacher who lived a “Walter Mitty” lifestyle hanged himself after racking up thousands of pounds of debt gambling on the internet, an inquest heard.
John Reilly, 39, worked as the head of Sandilands Community Primary School in Wythenshawe, Manchester, but became depressed after he lost thousands visiting online casinos.
The father of three ignored pleas from family and friends to get professional help even after his house was repossessed over gambling debts.
He left his school office shortly before lessons began on June 4 this year and hanged himself from a tree with his belt.
The body of the teacher was found by pupils from a nearby secondary school, less than a mile from Sandilands Community Primary, at around 11am.
An inquest into his death held yesterday at Manchester Coroner’s Court heard Mr Reilly was “very secretive” about his addiction.
His former girlfriend Susan Coates, 47, the mother of two of his children, Joshua, seven, and Oliver, four, discovered the extent of his debts only when bailiffs called to take possession of the family home.
The couple split after Ms Coates found Mr Reilly using her credit cards to fund his gambling habit.
He later moved in with fellow teacher at his school Gemma Stubbs, 27, and the couple began a relationship.
Manchester coroner Nigel Meadows said: “He was leading a Walter Mitty-type lifestyle and would not face up to the situation he was in.
“This is an illustration of how gambling in our society is as dangerous as drugs and can lead to traumatic relationships and family breakdown.
“This was a tragic waste of life of a very valuable member of our society.
“He was very secretive about his addiction which means it is very difficult to determine the precise amount of money which he owed.”
The inquest heard Greater Manchester Police had lost the suicide note written by Mr Reilly to loved ones, but copies were thought to have been given to family members.
Mr Reilly was living with Ms Stubbs when he hanged himself and hugged her goodbye, telling her he loved her, on the morning of his death.
Latest reports show that more than a quarter of a million people in Britain are classed as problem gamblers and millions more admitted gambling in some way last year.
A report by the Gambling Commission found there are more than 250,000 gambling addicts in the UK – equivalent to around 0.6 per cent of the adult population.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-482664/Head-teacher-addicted-online-gambling-hangs-house-repossess. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-482664/Head-teacher-addicted-online-gambling-hangs-house-repossessed.html. Last accessed 9th Jan, 2015